Note: After you read this post, do make sure you take a moment to read Joi’s comment below! I want you to know more about her perspective on all this. Thanks!
I love me some Craftsy. This needs to be firmly established before we dive into the murky ooze of my discontent.
If you’ve been following along, you know that I was super excited about one of their recent course offerings, “Fast Track Fitting“. I bought it almost as soon as it was announced. I had already enrolled in and watched most of Lynda Maynard’s “Sew the Perfect Fit,” and wasn’t entirely sold due to reasons I’ll mention later. I was drawn in to this new class by the promise of no more muslins and a usable bodice block by the end of the class.
It seemed like the perfect course for me!
If you’re like me, you may struggle with trying to figure out how to properly adjust your patterns to fit all your quirky bits. Sometimes it seems as though I am the antithesis of everything that pattern designers draft for–certainly I am not alone! Perhaps you have been wondering if one of these classes would help you attain the elusive “perfect fit.” I have now completed both courses and experimented with both techniques and I’d like to share my (oh-so-numerous) opinions so that I might be able to help someone trying to decide between the two classes.
First, both instructors seems extremely knowledgable about pattern adjustments in general. Lynda starts off her course with a session about what perfect fit is, which was eye-opening to say the least. There were some fit goals (shoulder seam postion, side seam perpendicularity) that I had never really thought about before. Both instructors take time to demonstrate how to take your measurements, though Joi really goes into more depth and gives some extra measurements that you should take that you may not have heard of before.
I feel compelled to mention, due to my own level of distractability, that neither instructor seemed particularly at ease in front of the camera–not that I can blame them. It did seem, though, that Joi was flustered. I noticed that she seemed to work through her slashing and spreading process sometimes without seeming to think about what she was doing. A couple of times, she didn’t even remove the excess that she said she was which, I noticed by reading the comments, confused some watchers. Lynda seemed a bit more relaxed, especially as she really got to work. I get the impression, overall, that both ladies would be really fun to work with and learn from in person. Being filmed is not something that everyone is comfortable with.
Both classes teach similar methods for pattern adjustments that rely heavily on slashing and spreading. The major difference between the methods is that Lynda sews up a very particular muslin and then slashes and spreads it while it’s on the model while Joi makes several pattern adjustments on paper before even cutting the first muslin.
I have one major issue with each class. With Lynda’s method, I find it very difficult to make the pattern adjustments to myself. I don’t belong to a sewing circle, I don’t have local friends who sew, my mom isn’t always available to lend a hand. So, this method doesn’t really work so well for someone like me, the lonely sewist. Joi’s method, on the other hand, is great for someone like me because I’m very comfortable with slashing and spreading and meticulous measurements.
My beef with Joi’s class is not with the method itself, but with the way the method is presented. Now, in Lynda’s class, she uses three different models and shows on each how she slashes the muslin and adds or removes fabric where needed. And then she shows us how to make the needed adjustments on the paper pattern by using each of the muslins. In Joi’s class, however, she simply shows generic examples of how to slash and spread–how to slash and spread above the bust, how to slash and spread below the bust, how to slash and spread at the waist, etc. She gives no measurements. She doesn’t really explain which of your measurements you should be using for which part of the pattern (though, this is really self-explanatory for the most part if you sit and think about it–but considering that she demonstrates over a dozen times the exact same slash and spread method in different parts of the pattern, I kind of feel like she thought maybe we were all a little slow. . . ).
I really wanted her to take her model’s measurements, sit down with the pattern, measure the pattern, compare it to the model’s measurements, and then show where she makes her cuts and why and how much she adds or removes. I read over the comments and found that a few other viewers had made this suggestion: that it would have been much easier to understand if she had walked us through a specific example. Joi replied that they had actually shot a version like that, but that Craftsy had decided that we would all get confused if she had been using someone else’s measurements to adjust the pattern–that we would all assume, I suppose, that we had to make the exact same adjustments.
I have to say, I was sort of offended by that.
I am not an idiot.
I did eventually make up a muslin using Joi’s method of measuring the pattern and comparing it to my own measurements and the result was dismal. Not anything at all like the nearly-perfect fit of the muslin she made for her model.
The obvious culprit here is incorrect measuring on my part. But that does make me think that perhaps it would have been more helpful to spend more time learning how to accurately take your own measurements. In both of these courses, we watch the instructor take someone else’s measurements–which is not super helpful when you need to know how to take your own. One thing I do really love about the Fast Track Fitting course is the printable measurement chart that comes with it. It clearly shows where on the body you need to take each measurement.
Then again, measurements are just numbers and numbers can only tell you so much. You can’t expect to get a perfect fit the first time around. Unless you’re one of those lucky ladies who can sew things “right out of the envelope.”
Honestly, it seems to me that a combination of the two methods would be most beneficial for home sewers. Take your measurements, modify the pattern accordingly, and once you’ve sewn up a muslin, use Lynda’s method of slashing and spreading while wearing the muslin to get a more perfect fit. But that does bring us back to the problem of not being able to slash and spread on yourself.
So, my friends, have any of you taken either of these classes? What are your thoughts?